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by Carmen Farrell



My son Quinn came to me a few months ago in distress because he’d heard one of our neighbours refer to me as a hippie. He was pissed. How dare this guy call his mom something so horrible. Quinn thought it meant something derogatory, and in all likelihood, this neighbor did say it in a dissonant fashion (this neighbour and I are definitely not BFFs).  So I had to educate my kid on what a hippie was, and tell him exactly why I felt totally cool with my douchebag neighbor referring to me as one.

I was born in 1975, so I missed the whole peace-love-hippie-scene of the sixties – but I think I would have fit right in.  I don’t wear tie-dye, or flowers in my hair or do hits of LSD, but I do have strong counter-cultural leanings.  I have a shit load of grey hair, don’t dye it, and don’t plan to.   In today’s beauty-obsessed world, that’s a totally subversive act.  I also work hard at feeding my kids as little processed food as possible, I made an educated choice not to vaccinate, and feel strongly that homeschooling is better for my kids than a traditional schooling environment. I’ve gone against the grain quite a bit, and I’ve enjoyed every button-pushing minute of it.  And the neighbours…well, they notice.

One example that I used when explaining to my kid the ways in which we are different from the neighbours is how few bottles and tubes we have in the bathroom.  For a couple of years now I’ve gotten a big kick out of making my own “beauty” products. Not just because I’m crafty and making shit brings out my inner kid, but because I feel like I’m sticking it to the big corporations that make us believe that all that shit is necessary. I’m pretty sick of being marketed to…especially by the beauty industry.  Not only does my bathroom not need 87 different skin products, but soaps, shampoos, lotions and the like are loaded with unpronounceable crap proven to cause cancer in laboratory tests (go here to see where your products rank on the safety scale).  I can’t knowingly put that stuff on my kids’ bodies. So, I make my own all natural stuff.  Things like deodorant and toothpaste are easily made with a few ingredients and my own hands.  Baking soda and water is often used in lieu of shampoo, coconut oil becomes a skin mosturizer, and instead of Polysporin on boo-boos, we use a homemade calendula salve.   And it all works beautifully.

For any of you curious folks out there with “hippie” tendencies, here’s the deodorant recipe I use (care of Crunchy Betty):

  • 1-1/2 tbsp grated beeswax
  • 4 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp shea butter
  • 4 tsp clay (bentonite or other – for the batch in the photo above I used french green clay)
  • 20-25 drops essential oil (I use tea tree oil but feel free to experiment and make yours smell whatever way you like best)
  • empty deodorant container

Melt the beeswax and coconut oil on very low heat, whisking often. Once melted, add in the shea butter, whisk a few times, then remove from the heat and continue melting. After that’s melted and you have a liquid, sprinkle in the clay and continue to whisk well until everything is combined. Drop in the essential oil while continuing to whisk. Place the pan into a cool water bath, and leave for 5 minutes or until it just begins to set up. Spoon the mixture into your deodorant container and place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes (or until completely hard). If, for some reason, it starts to get too soft on a hot day, just put it back in the freezer for a while.

Keep in mind that nothing works as well as the aluminum filled best-sellers from the drug store, but this stuff works pretty darned well.  Anyhow, I really like the musky smell of my own pits (hubby’s too!).   On days that I have nowhere to go you’ll find my pits deo-free and me occasionally lifting my arm to get a whiff.  I dig it, and would take that scent over artificial lilacs any day.

Now you.  I bet there’s at least one thing you do that would make your neighbours shake their heads in confusion.  Spill it, okay?

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  1. May 8, 2012

    I go ix-nay on the deo all together. I rarely wear bras; the only thing between my tits is my belly-button. And my beau makes homemade beer (cooking hops reek of ass). Oh, and when we drive past any douchey neighbor’s house, we usually lay on the horn shouting “Go back to the suburbs, you fascist.”

    • May 8, 2012

      You know, Anna…you sound like my kind of chick.

  2. heyheyitsvanessa #
    May 8, 2012

    I went a good three years or so without shaving my legs or pits and making my own everything. I’ll never forget the faces on all the other moms at the waterpark. It was fantastic.
    I thank my lucky stars every day that we live in the middle of nowhere & our neighbors can’t see my kids pee outside every morning.

    • May 8, 2012

      I can’t get down with not shaving, the conditioning runs too deep. But I totally admire those who can. My hat’s off to you!

  3. Laura Yurs #
    May 8, 2012

    Loving this!! Can’t wait for you to visit in a few weeks and pick your brain : )
    When we moved into our house in the burbs, I painted the kitchen orange.
    It was a defining moment with our neighbors and that’s when I knew we’d always be “those neighbors”.

    • May 8, 2012

      I hope to God your kitchen is still orange. Sounds totally rad. Can’t wait to see you!

  4. May 8, 2012

    tons of bikes on our front yard, homemade skateboard swing, barefoot walking kids, all around hairy family, kids drawing on sidewalk and playing games on the street, a general loving of life…these are the things that turn heads and invoke curiousity in our hood 🙂

    • May 8, 2012

      Your kids are amazing, Catherine!
      If I had a dollar for every time a passerby looked at me and said “those kids should have shoes on”, I’d be set. I can’t even get them to keep clothes on in the summer months. As it should be, IMO.

  5. kathy #
    May 8, 2012

    my loudness…I can have a very booming voice when I want too. Overall I’m lucky…we have the best neighbors. Snotty people don’t like to live where I live, we don’t play keeping up with the Jones’s here. In fact we are very protective over each other…expect for those bastards that live to the left of us, those people can go screw off. hehe

    • May 8, 2012

      Sounds like you found your people, Kathy! Except for that one house with the douchebags, LOL.

  6. Jill #
    May 8, 2012

    I think because we aren’t obsessed about our lawn or the beautification of our house, our neighbors look at us like we’re a little nutty. I could give two shits what our lawn looks like. Hell, I’d love to let it go completely native or gravel over it and just be done with it. Other than not shaving through the winter (meaning September to May), it’s pretty much same old, same old here . . . except for the homemade ice cream 🙂

  7. May 8, 2012

    Ah yes. The made-from-scratch meals & lack of paper towels, plastic most things, and non-natural body products have most friends (from out of town) shaking their heads at us calling us hippies too. I was once told that I smelled of “moldy yams and vinegar” in a very loving way from a friend. I think he was kidding. maybe.
    I love that the city we live in has so many like-minded people all on one side though- (Madison, wi) is known for it’s “hippie” population, I love it. Going to have to try out your recipe- the one I was using started irritating my skin, I’ve found I need to rotate my deodorant or my skin tires of it or something.

  8. May 8, 2012

    kids naked, me naked, peeing outside, the usual.. though my pits are strong, unusually so, maybe i need to try your recipe.

  9. May 8, 2012

    ha! let me count the ways. we recycle (no one else on our street seems to), kids are often naked, they pee and on the rare occasion poop outside (bea under the influence of her big brother), play our music really REALLY loud, don’t have cable, our yard often looks likes a kids version of sanford and son’s salvage yard, paint our boy’s nails at his request, don’t attend church and like you, i make several home products (i could keep going but i won’t). we get called hippie’s, too. amen, on being tired of being bombarded with marketing, which is something we talk about with the kids, so that might turn heads as well. i’m definitely trying your deodorant recipe you stinkin hippie!

  10. May 9, 2012

    I’m with you on the hippie bit, but since I seem to only have hippie friends and even neighbors, I don’t think they think anything I do hippie-wise is odd.

    What DOES raise their eyebrows is how I don’t garden. We do the bare minimum of mowing, and the rest of our yard is an overgrown mess. I have tried, but it comes so hard for me, and I don’t enjoy it, so I buy flowers and vegetables from the local farmers and try not to look at the lilac bushes that are getting choked out by invasive species.

  11. wolfie #
    December 31, 2012

    Chickens in the backyard – we’re like the circus come to town. =) Gonna try this deo recipe tonight!

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